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Chemo week 2: Waiting For baldness

I fared pretty well immediately following round one of Chemo, but I hear the side effects get worse with each round. Is that true? God, I hope not.

This week, I've felt pretty good, except for the bloating. Good God, the bloating? I expected to lose weight due to all the nausea, instead, my body is holding on to every bit of fluid it receives like it's never getting any again. Somehow, I'm in the bathroom every 20 minutes like I'm 9 months preggo, yet the bloat never leaves.

I might be as puffy as a Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon, but I still have my hair! It's getting thinner, but no need for a cover yet. I consider just shaving it all off, just to get it over with. While I'm here, waiting to go bald, I decided to go all out and blog dry AND straighten it for Valentines Day dinner with Matt. Then, I felt compelled to take a selfie, my second ever selfie.

Honestly, I feel pretty lucky to be able to celebrate Valentines Day with Matt and our little family this year. Hoping next year, I'll be Cancer free and flourishing in my recovery.

AND, here I am, in my chair, as poison is pumped into my body, to heal me. Weird, right? I'm waiting for my radioactive superhero to emerge. My third selfie, I'm out of control. This is who I am now.

First week of Chemo

Dare I say, I’m feeling quite close to normal today. The nausea has subsided and that is something to be thankful for. 

No matter how close to normal as I feel, the fatigue is constant, definitely on par with first-trimester-of-pregnancy tired. A nap a day is required but when you’re a SAHM with a 3 year old who doesn’t nap, “rest hour” while watching Disney Junior becomes very important. 

The fatigue hit like a train wreck and the nausea was a beast on days 3 & 4. But, again, a big thank you to the doctors for prescribing wonderful meds. The meds make me drowsy but they keep the nausea as controlled as possible. Setting an alarm to get up and take meds in the middle of the night and having crackers, on the bedside table, to eat before getting up have helped with my nausea as well. 

Our house is trashed and the baskets are overflowing with toys that don’t belong there, because all I have energy to do is throw them in the damn basket. The toilets need cleaned. The laundry needs to be put away (although, in all honesty, that’s not new). “The Moms” (my mom and Matt’s mom) gifted us some sessions with a maid service, which starts Friday. Halle-fucking-lujah!

I still have my hair, for now. We’re on day 6 and I was told it usually falls out between days 10 and 14. I ordered 4 scarves and 3 beanies (is that excessive?), it’s one for everyday, which made sense to me. I think insurance covers a wig, with a prescription, so I’m gonna bring that up next week with my Oncologist.

I haven’t had to rock the face mask yet, but I will at Oliver’s 18 month well visit next week. I haven’t felt particularly brave yet, but I think stepping foot inside a pediatrician’s office with a weak immune system is brave. Not wearing a mask, would be stupid. So, naturally, I ordered a couple washable cutesy face masks on Etsy. Which took me down the custom graphic tee rabbit hole, where I found this. Clearly, I needed it too.

Chemo Day 1

As I walked into the cancer center on Friday incredibly nervous, but also ready to get started with this so that we can be done with this. 

12:30  I checked in for my pre-treatment labs. I had applied a HEAPING blob of the lidocaine numbing cream on my port an hour before my lab draw, as suggested. Which, was super helpful, because, the nurses had a hard time trying to locate the “bullseye” they need to poke the needle into my port. Apparently, this is common with newly installed ports, due to swelling during the healing process. I had one nurse try 2 times, unsuccessfully. A second nurse tried to locate the “bullseye”, but wasn’t confident enough, so she called in the Boss Bitch. She found it, “tapped in” and took some the blood samples to be tested. *they have to make sure your levels are healthy enough to receive the treatment*

1:15-2:00 spent the next 45 minutes waiting for lab results, but I did this in a lounge chair with Netflix so I was fine with the waiting.

2:15-4:30 during this time, I received the AC Chemo drugs (along with some anti nausea ones) intravenously via my port. I’m gonna keep it real guys, I asked for some “happy juice” to help ease my anxiety because, damn, it was real. After a little Ativan, I was feeling much calmer and didn’t notice anything more  as the medicines were added. Matt watched a movie on his iPad and I spent the time filling up my Amazon cart (time to shop for new headwear!?). 

Then, OMG, they have therapy dogs!! I was so excited to see this beautiful girl come visit me for a pick me up. 

After the IV drip was over, my nice pod nurse placed my nuelasta auto injector on my arm. This will self administer a shot, in 27 hours, to help protect me from infections by stimulating my bone marrow to grow. We're living in the future guys. 

That was it. Honestly, it was a very anti-climatic day. I was terrified but I'm proud of myself for doing it. Now I enter this hell of the unknown again. I keep thinking every little thing is a side effect. Do you guys remember the movie, Reality Bites? It was a favorite of mine back in the day, because who didn't have a thing for slacker-ass Ethan Hawke? Anyway, there's a scene when Janeane Garofalo's character is waiting for her HIV results and she says "...Every time I sneeze, it's like I'm four sneezes away from the hospice..." That's exactly how I feel right now. 

Here's the full clip, because it's hilarious and I just love that movie. 

My Cancer Story: Chemo Preparation

[Insert insightfully profound the-struggle-is-real quote here]

Friday I attended my Chemo 101 class. I learned more than I wanted to know and way more than my mind can comprehend at this point, and I don't even have "chemo brain" yet.  Which I learned is an actual thing. Basically, it's like pregnancy brain, mom brain and zombie brain - basically you're temporarily real dumb, living life in a bit of a haze. I can't decide if I'm at a disadvantage due to my current mom brain state or if I'm at an advantage - I mean, I have been functioning as a sleep deprived mom of 2 boys, maybe the Chemo fog will seem normal? I'm gonna hope so!

I toured the Chemo floor (UF Cancer Center) and know where I'll be receiving the treatments. I have my list of drugs that will be in my Chemo regime (I'm trying to stay of Google). I'm learning new lingo and I'm amassing a stockpile of hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap. In short, I'm trying to prepare the best I can for treatments.

Today, I took the next step toward treatment. I had my Chemo port placement surgery. As far as procedures go, this one was as easy as it gets. I remember talking with the nice nurses while they were getting me all positioned on the table. Next thing I knew, I was in the recovery area talking to a new nurse. Easy peasy. Big shout out to anesthesiologists everywhere - mad love from me! 

So, here it is folks, my Chemo port.